While the signs of a dog with sensitive skin vary according to the trigger, they have one thing in common: The poor dog is miserable. Signs of sensitive skin vary according to the animal and the underlying cause. Sensitive skin in dogs is often an allergic reaction. Exposure to environmental, food, or contact allergens may produce sensitive skin. So can heredity.
Fleas are among the most common causes of scratching. Even one flea on an allergic dog can cause an extreme reaction. Look for fleas or flea dirt – little pepper-like flea feces – on your pet’s skin. Unless a dog is really infested, you might not spot fleas, but using a flea comb reveals flea dirt.
Keep your dog on a flea-and-tick preventive recommended by your veterinarian. If your dog is receiving flea treatments and still scratches, either the therapy is ineffective, or something else is causing the incessant itching. Possible candidates include fungal infections or dermatitis. Take your pet to the vet for further diagnosis.
Chewing and Licking
Is your dog constantly chewing or obsessively licking parts of his anatomy? Does he smell musty? He might suffer from a yeast infection. The groin and feet and other moist environments are where yeast may take hold. Breeds with skin folds are especially susceptible to yeast infections.
Your vet takes a skin sample to determine the source of the dog’s discomfort. If it is a yeast infection, treatment includes anti-fungal baths and topical creams. Your vet may also recommend dietary changes to prevent recurrence.
Redness and inflammation are signs of dermatitis. Skin is not only irritated, but may weep from the dogs’ attempts to find relief. The affected skin may thicken or develop pustules, or pimples.
Bald patches on your dog may result from various conditions. These include:
- Bacterial infection
Exposure to certain plants or chemicals may cause hair loss.
You want a dog with a shiny coat and healthy skin. If his skin is dry and flaky, with a dull coat, his diet could prove the root of his skin sensitivity. As with humans, dogs are more likely to experience dry skin in cold weather when exposed to indoor heating systems.
Feed them a quality dog food and add a skin and coat conditioning supplement to meals. Groom your dog regularly, but don’t overdo bathing. That can exacerbate dryness. When bathing her, always use shampoos designed specifically for dogs with sensitive skin.
Does your dog’s skin smell bad? Odor often accompanies dry skin. So does inflammation and hair loss, as well as itching.
Dry skin can indicate serious medical conditions. Symptoms of hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease both include dry skin, infections, and hair loss. Demodectic mange is another potential culprit. Your vet will perform diagnostic tests and base treatment upon the results.
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